Total Assets (2009): $15,588,000
Total Giving (1997-2009): $9,657,718
Prominent Grants: $80,000 to the Center for Social Inclusion, $600,000 over 3 years to Legal Voice (formerly NW Women’s Law Center), $100,000 to support the Election Verification Network, and $100,000 over 2 years to support Media Democracy Fund.
Summary: The Quixote Foundation was established in 1997 in Madison, Wisconsin by Arthur Stuart Hanisch. Arthur “Stuart” Hanisch was born into a prominent and wealthy family in 1932. Even though Stuart was very young during the Great Depression, he was uncomfortable with the contrast between his family’s affluent situation and the struggles of his peers. This intuitive response matured into a lifelong concern for fairness. Stuart believed his donor’s role was secondary to nonprofit groups, saying “Money provided doesn’t deserve credit—what people and organizations do, does deserve credit.” He named the foundation after the fictitious Don Quixote in order to shift attention from himself. He loved the notion of “tilting at windmills”—charging into the fray to defend heartfelt ideals no matter how strong the resistance, whether or not others share the cause—and he supported the idealism of organizations brave enough to tilt. The Quixote Foundation wants to see free people in fair societies on a healthy planet. Interest areas include U.S. media reform, election integrity, reproductive rights and environmental equity. Following the lead of other spend-down foundations like The Beldon Fund, French American Charitable Trust, and Atlantic Philanthrophies, the Quixote Foundation made the decision to spend out all of its assets. The Foundation plans to conclude its grant-making activities in 2016.